How to elope in Asheville, North Carolina in 2023

Are you wanting to elope in Asheville, NC but don’t know where to start? Or want to know if Asheville is the best location for your elopement?
Planning an elopement can be totally confusing, especially if you don’t have any idea how to start. So we’ve made this guide to help you out! It goes over Asheville elopement locations, permits, vendor recommendations and so much more.

We hear you saying, “Do I really have to travel to the West Coast or Colorado to find mountain views for my elopement?”
Nope, you don’t!!
The Southeast definitely has some hidden mountain gems and you can find them right in North Carolina: Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Nestled between the two is Asheville, a truly charming place for your mountain elopement.

Getting to explore the mountain vistas and stunning waterfalls surrounding Asheville is just a small part of what this town offers. With an eclectic downtown, tons of cute little cafes, and over 30 breweries, this town really does have something for everyone.

Asheville elopement tips

  1. Make your elopement day a full adventure!! Seriously, this is one of the best decisions you can make. You can pack your elopement full of your favorite activities: hiking, horse-riding, brewery hopping, and spending time exploring or relaxing.
  2. For the best lighting for your photos, choose either a sunrise or sunset elopement (and have your ceremony within a few hours of either). These time-frames will ensure a more secluded ceremony away from tourists.
  3. Week-day elopements are the best. We know most people want to get married on a weekend due to getting time off of work, but the week-day is less busy and more secluded, so if you can, definitely opt for a week-day elopement.
  4. Remember, we are in the mountains and the weather can be unpredictable. This doesn’t mean your day is ruined. Sometimes fog, mist and even rain/snow can be stunning and magical. So embrace the weather and always come up with a backup plan just in case.
  5. If you’re including family or friends, it’s a good idea to spend some alone time too and soak in those intimate “just married” moments.

How to elope in Asheville

1. Hire an elopement photographer for your Asheville elopement

Finding the right photographer is so important: they may be one of the only other people there on your wedding day, so make sure you love their photos AND their personality!
If you do decide to choose us as your photographers, we’ll help you with creating your elopement experience. We’ll give you personalized location recommendations, vendor recommendations, timeline assistance, and so much more. Plus you’ll get two new friends!! So feel free to reach out!

2. Choose your season & date

Flexibility and an open mind will make your elopement that much better, especially in regard to the weather. While we’ll do our best to plan around ideal weather, things can change really quickly. So embrace the changing weather, and we’ll be sure to make your day amazing.

Spring

Spring in Asheville is one of the best times to elope! Early spring will still have cooler temperatures and the flowers in the lower mountain valleys will have started blooming. By late spring, flowers at the top of the mountains will begin blooming and temperatures will warm up to the 80s. At night, the temperatures may be chilly, somewhere in the 40s/50s. Make sure to cuddle up by a fire and hold your partner close!

Summer

As with many places in the Southeastern U.S., Asheville gets hot and humid in the summer. You will get sweaty. Early summer is beautiful with the best wildflower blooming at the highest elevations. Summer is the first half of the busy season in Asheville so make sure you book everything in advance.

Fall

Fall colors in the smoky mountains are absolutely stunning. However, this also is the second half of the busy season since everyone is visiting for those fall colors. The weather is similar to spring but you may experience more rain and a chance of an early snowstorm. Early or late fall is the second best time to visit!

Winter

Winter is such a mix of weather in Asheville. In early winter, there may be fall leaves still with temperatures in the 50s, or it may get as low as 20 degrees. Winter can bring snow to the area; there’s plenty of chances to ski and then warm up by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa. The snow usually doesn’t stick around for too long, so you can definitely go on some brisk hikes if you want.

3. Epic adventure elopement locations for your Asheville elopement

Asheville and the surrounding areas have so many elopement options to choose from. There are no rules for your elopement! You can elope on the top of a mountain, in a forest, at a rushing waterfall, or anywhere you choose.

Some of the parks have dedicated ceremony locations and most require permits. You can choose one of these locations for your ceremony and hike to a different location for exploring. Alternatively, you can also have your ceremony at an Airbnb/ VRBO and then go exploring for the rest of the day. Many in-park ceremony locations do have a limit on how many people are allowed at the ceremony.

If you’re wanting less of a hike, then we recommend some of the stunning overlooks and scenic stops (called pullouts) at any of the parks we list below.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

While not as close to Asheville as the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has so much to explore. The drive through the park from NC to TN is stunning and offers tons of hikes and adventures. This is the busiest National Park in the US. Crazy right?! This park is also a through-way (no entry fee), but since it is so big, it hardly ever feels crowded. Starting in 2023, Great Smoky Mountains National Park requires a parking tag for stopping within the park.

Listed below are some of the approved ceremony locations for the national park.

  • Oconaluftee Overlook
  • Foothills parkway
  • Cades cove
  • Smokemont Church

Blue ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of our favorite places to explore in North Carolina. It seriously has so much to offer: from lakes and forests, to jagged mountain peaks and gorges. Listed below are some of our favorite locations!

  • Craggy Flats Bald
  • Beacon Heights
  • Rough Ridge Lookout via hike (you can’t elope at the overlook)
  • Tanawah Trail Viewpoint
  • Price Lake
  • Grandfather Mountain State Park
  • Table Rock Mountain
  • Linville Gorge
  • Sharp Top Pinnacle
  • Chestoa View Overlook 
  • Hawskbill Mountain

NANTAHALA National Forest

  • Cherohala Skyway
  • Balsam Lake
  • Chattooga River
  • Dry Falls

Pisgah National Forest

While most of the locations on the Blue Ridge Parkway are at the tops of the mountains, Pisgah National Forest is nestled in the forest valleys. There are tons of creeks, lakes, and waterfalls here!

  • Bald Knob Ridge
  • Roaring Creek Falls
  • Big Lost Cove Cliffs
  • Sols Creek falls/flat creek falls (via Bear Creek Lake)

4. Book your accommodations and other vendors



Hair and makeup

  • Jessy Steele

5. Apply for your elopement permits and marriage license

Permits for the Blue Ridge Parkway:

$100 permit fee

Click here to apply

The Blue Ridge Parkway does not allow ceremonies on federal holidays. The best time to elope in the parkway is from April to September.

Permits for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

$100 permit fee

Click here to apply

Permits for Pisgah National Forest:

Permit information found here

Asheville Marriage License:

If you’re looking to get legally married in NC, you can get your marriage license for Asheville here.

6. Prepare for your elopement

We’re going to go out on a limb here and say you’re looking for a wedding day experience, so why not incorporate some of your favorite activities? You can literally do anything and everything you want on your elopement day.

Activity ideas:

  • Spending a quiet morning together at your Airbnb
  • Hiking to a beautiful location for the ceremony
  • Horseback-riding in the mountains
  • Taking a dip in a waterfall or river
  • Tubing along the French Broad River
  • White water rafting
  • Zip-lining
  • Kayaking/canoeing
  • Rock climbing
  • Have your first dance on the mountaintop or by a waterfall
  • Stargaze or go soak in a hot tub (maybe you’ll see some wildlife too)
  • Rent a mountain bike
  • Helicopter ride
  • Visiting any of the craft breweries in Asheville
  • Have a picnic for lunch or dinner (charcuterie boards anyone?)
  • Campfire with smores and drinks

No matter what activities you choose to incorporate on your day, make it special and choose thing you love to do together. Or you could totally try something new and exciting! It is your wedding day after all!


Some things to remember to bring:

  • Snacks and water, we definitely recommend trail mixes, granola and jerky
  • Umbrellas/sunscreen
  • Permits and passes
  • Bear spray – there are tons of bears in the smoky mountains so it’s best to be prepared
  • If you’re eloping in the winter or early spring, pack layers!

Well, that was tons of info! Asheville really is one of our favorite locations and always amazes us. We’d love to help plan and capture your Asheville elopement, so if you have any questions or wanna reach out to us, we are here to guide you every step of the way.

join the adventure

Heading